CD10 Core: Skills
Work in progress ahead. Information in this article could change!
Skills are a numeric representation of how adept your character is at a particular activity. They are one of three parts that make up the numerical values of a character. A skill holds all your characters ability, knowledge and general performance within the skills' area. Skills are always divided into six groups, dependent on setting.
For instance, here are groups for a modern cyberpunk setting and a medieval fantasy setting side-by-side:
Communication skills are skills that involve communicating with others in one way or another. It could involve holding speeches or trying to win over a crowd at a rally. Firearms cover all manner of ranged weapons from handguns to plasma cannons. Knowledge skills are skills that require study and academia. Skills in this group are usually such that most ordinary folks don't have much competency in them. Maneuvers are great physical feats such as running, swimming and most melee fighting skills. Technology cover high tech skills such as advanced computer operation, hacking, tracing and cybernetics. Willpower cover skills that require great mental stamina or patience to perform. Crafts hold all the skills that involve creating and manipulating matter to make things. It could be something like blacksmithing or carpentry. Occultism covers everything supernatural, even the more divine parts of the supernatural.
Each setting has its own set of skill groups and they have a small impact on gameplay, mostly in the form of traits having relations to specific skill groups.
One such example is the trait Quick Study which allows a player to pick a category of skills that they have an easier time learning.
Combat skill relations
Combat is a fundamental skill that shares a lot of basics with other, similar styles. As such, you can use skill substitution on combat skills depending on if it's closely related to or distantly related to another combat skill. If it's closely related, you are at a -2 internal modifier. If it's distantly related, you are at a -4. Every combat skill has a list of other combat skills it's related to.
Creating new skills
Should you find that you have an idea for a skill but can't find one in the list that covers your use case, you can always just add it to the game. Most of the things should already be covered by , but in case you find something that needs to be added, take great care to outline the skill so that it isn't too narrow or too broad. Creating new skills and traits is one of the strengths of CD10, and while the modules provide many traits and skills for you to use, we can never create skills for every setting and world.
In some cases, like with Interrogation and Persuasion or Disguise and Performance there is a small or significant overlap. In these cases the GM can rule that even if a character does not have, say Interrogation, they can still interrogate someone using Persuasion even though they are not trained for that specific purpose. The character then performs the task at a disadvantage. Usually the GM can do this by increasing difficulty by +3 or whatever number she sees fit for the situation.
Improving with experience
In order for a character to improve, they must pay a certain amount of experience points depending on what they want to improve. There should always be an in-game narrative explanation for how your character acquired new skills or abilities. Everything is paid for with experience points including skills, traits and abilities. Experience points are rewarded to the player post-session as the GM sees fit. See the experience section of CD10 Core: Running a Game for details on awarding experience.
Players improve skills by paying experience points. Skills range between +1 to infinity, though skills beyond +10 are rare and largely overkill. In order to improve a skill, you must pay an equal number of experience points to the level of proficiency you are improving to. For example, if you have +3 in a skill and you want to improve it to +4, you must pay 4 experience points. If you want to increase it further to +5, you pay an additional +5.
|Skill level||Cost per step||Total cost|
The system of learning new skills is heavily tied to narrative and story, so while the rules give you some good guidelines for how to treat skills, there are several story-related situations where this might not fit well and the GM must make changes to how skills and abilities are acquired and improved.
Improving known skills
For skills that the character already knows there is a limit of one skill improvement per skill and session. In order for the skill to be eligable for improvement, the skills must have been used in the session and that skill check must have failed. Whenever you fail a check, put a checkmark (✔) next to that skill so that you know you may increase it at the end of the session. If you have not failed a check you cannot increase the skill, representing that you have not learned from your mistakes.
For example, If you have +4 in Computers you may increase it to +5 between sessions provided that it has a checkmark next to it. You improve it by paying 5 experience points. You may not improve this skill again until after next session at the earliest. You are free to improve any number of skills between sessions as long as you have a checkmark next to them. But remember that you may only improve a single skill one time until the next session.
The reason for this limit is to encourage learning new skills and avoid spending all of your points on one particular skill and end up with a character that isn't believable or flexible. The requirement that one must fail with the skill represents learning from one's mistakes and that it's hard to improve when one is already a master.
Learning new skills
Learning a new skill is slightly different than improving known skills. New skills can be picked up at any time between sessions, provided that there's a narrative reason for why your character now knows this skill. A new skill can be increased to a maximum of +2 when picked up and doing so costs 1+2 = 3 experience points. 1 point for +1, 2 points for +2. Once a new skill has been raised to +2 it becomes a known skill and cannot be improved further until after next session and follows the same requirements as known skills.
Hidden skill checks and experience
Sometimes the GM calls for a check with a hidden Difficulty and doesn't let the player know whether they failed or succeeded (for instance, perception or insight checks). In this case, the GM should note down if the player failed their check and tell them at the end of the session so they still can increase their skills. The other option is not using hidden checks, which could take away tension and immersion.
Hiring a teacher is an excellent way to make one's progression more effective. A teacher is someone who has at least two skills to +6 or better and is willing to take students. The advantage of having a teacher is that learning new skills reduce the cost for increasing the skills he's teaching by 1 (to a minimum of 1), for as long as your character has less skill value than the teacher. Once you reach the value of your teacher, they can teach you no more. A teacher also bypasses the need to have failed a check on the skill in the session. Simply having a teacher tutor you in that particular skill means that it may be increased even if it has not been used. The drawback of a teacher is that they cost money. Unless one can pay them directly one often needs to perform work to pay for the teacher. The GM is of course welcome to construct whatever in-universe narrative to make a teacher available and paid for.
In addition to reducing the cost of increasing the skills that the teacher can teach you, they also provide you with one additional experience point per month, provided you spend the entire month studying under them. If you cannot actively study, only the cost reduction is available.
School and studying
An alternative to having a teacher is to study. You go to lectures and classes and spend most of your time studying. Education and schools may not be an option for your setting, but if they are, it's usually a cheaper option than a teacher.
Long time between sessions
Real time and narrative time aren't 1:1 and sometimes a lot of in-universe time can pass between sessions. In these cases, the GM may make different rulings on how much a skill may be improved between sessions, given the in-universe time that has passed.
The list below is not a complete list of all skills in CD10. You may create your own skill list to fit your setting, or peruse the public skill block list for CD10 here on Worldanvil.
- Animal Handling
- Assault Rifles
- Balanced One-Handed Weapons
- Bastard Weapons
- Digital Forgery
- Duel Weapons
- First Aid
- Glass making
- Heavy Energy Weapons
- Heavy One-handed Weapons
- Heavy Polearms
- Heavy Weapons
- Ink Making
- Instrument Building
- Light Energy Weapons
- Light Polearms
- Mathematics (modern)
- Melee Weapons
- One-handed Weapons And Shield
- Playing Instrument
- Polearm and Shield
- Submarine Operation
- Throwing Weapon
- Urban Survival
- Withstand Torture
4: You speak the language decently, but you have a strong accent. Grammar is lacking and you have trouble finding words, but you have no day to day problems getting your point across. Misunderstandings happen regularly.
6: You can speak the language fluently with only a hint of accent. If it's your native tongue, your manner of speaking is primitive and not very refined.
8+: You speak the language like a native. Your accent is barely noticeable unless someone makes a real effort to notice it. You can even imitate certain dialects.